Robert Garner
2 minute read
28 Jan 2017
6:06 am

Legal Eagle a favourite to win the Met

Robert Garner

There’s also strong support for Legal Eagle’s stablemate French Navy as well as Gold Standard.

Legal Eagle.

All the essential form factors point to South Africa’s best race horse Legal Eagle winning the R5 million Sun Met at Kenilworth this Saturday, but several runners are being backed to beat him.

There has been an avalanche of money for Gold Standard, the only three-year-old in the field, and it has gathered momentum in the last few days.

Initially offered at 33/1, Gold Standard has been backed through all the rates to 6/1. Money is also pouring onto Whisky Baron, who is now at 9/2 after opening at 16/1.

There’s also strong support for Legal Eagle’s stablemate French Navy. He was priced up a too-generous 40/1 and has been backed into 18/1.

“The shrewd support is for French Navy, but the big money is for Whisky Baron and especially Gold Standard. Both are continuing to attract support in spite of their odds being slashed,” said TAB and Betting World boss Vee Moodley.

On the available evidence neither Whisky Baron nor Gold Standard is capable of beating Legal Eagle, who has eased to 2/1 favourite.

The weight conditions of the Met favour Legal Eagle because he concedes less weight to all his rivals than would be the case in a handicap. Theoretically he should beat Whisky Baron and Gold Standard by some four lengths, but the potential flaw is that both may be better than they have shown to date.

Whisky Baron has gone from strength to strength following gelding and has won his last four races in smart style. He’s set to make further improvement, but it remains to be seen whether he can improve enough to beat Legal Eagle.

Much the same applies to Gold Standard. This youngster is entitled to step up on what he’s shown thus far because this will be only his seventh start. Plus he’s venturing beyond 1 600m for the first time and may prefer the 2 000m Met distance.

But on what’s known right now Legal Eagle should win unless he fluffs his lines and his record suggests there’s little chance of that.

He has run out of the first three only once since beginning his rise to fame with a victory in the SA Derby in April 2015 and that was when fifth and repeatedly hampered in the Durban July two months later.

Champion trainer Sean Tarry knows what it takes to produce a horse ready on any given day and many punters will reckon that at 2/1 Legal Eagle is a good-value bet.

It could be a huge afternoon for Tarry. With luck, he could have a 1-2 finish in the Met with Legal Eagle and French Navy and he has 16 other runners at Kenilworth.

They include feisty but unbeaten Cloth of Cloud and top three-year-old Safe Harbour in the $500 000 CTS 1200 and $500 000 CTS 1600 respectively, as well as top sprinters Trip To Heaven and Carry On Alice in the R1 million Betting World Cape Flying Championship.

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